R.I.P. Reed Mullin, Corrosion of Conformity drummer dies at 53
The pioneering metal drummer founded C.O.C. in 1982
Tragic news to report, as Corrosion of Conformity drummer Reed Mullin has passed away at the age of 53. No cause of death has been reported.
The influential metal band reported the news in a tweet on Monday night, writing, “It’s with heavy hearts that we say goodbye to a friend, a brother and pioneer. Reed you are loved and always will be. Lets all take a moment…”
Mullin founded Corrosion of Conformity in 1982 alongside bassist Mike Dean and guitarists Pepper Keenan and Woody Weatherman. C.O.C., as they were also known, unleashed their debut album, Eye for an Eye, in 1984. Starting out with a more hardcore sound, C.O.C. became pioneers of sludge and stoner metal, and have released a total of 10 studio LPs during the course of their career.
Corrosion of Conformity underwent a number of lineup changes over the years, with Mullin leaving the group in 2001, before they eventually broke up in 2006. The trio of Mullin, Weatherman, and Dean later reunited in 2010, and were rejoined by Keenan in 2014. The band’s most recent album, 2018’s No Cross No Crown, was the first to feature the core lineup of Mullin, Weatherman, Keenan, and Dean since 2000’s America’s Volume Dealer.
In 2016, Mullin suffered an alcohol-related seizure during the band’s show in Edmonton, Canada, but returned to the lineup just a couple days later. He missed several more shows in recent years, leading Dean to declare that Mullin wouldn’t be welcomed back to the band until he was on a healthy path.
“He needs to take care of himself and get his shit together,” Dean told the Talk Toomey podcast. “And if that happens, the door’s open for him. And if it doesn’t, well, that’s how it is. People need to wanna help themselves. You can’t just push them to get help — they’ve gotta wanna help themselves.”
Andy Gill, influential guitarist with Gang of Four, dies aged 64
Gill’s guitar sound inspired Kurt Cobain, Michael Stipe and Red Hot Chili Peppers, whose debut album he produced
Andy Gill, the guitarist with Gang of Four, whose sound influenced generations of post-punk bands, has died aged 64.
The news was announced by the band on their social media channels on Saturday. No cause of death has yet been announced, but they referred to him as “listening to mixes for the upcoming record, whilst planning the next tour from his hospital bed”.
The band heralded him as “one of the best to ever do it … we’ll remember him for his kindness and generosity, his fearsome intelligence, bad jokes, mad stories and endless cups of darjeeling tea. He just so happened to be a bit of a genius too.”
Gill was born in Manchester in 1956, and formed Gang of Four in Leeds in 1976. Influenced by Dr Feelgood’s Wilko Johnson as well as the New York punk scene that he witnessed after receiving a grant to visit art galleries there, Gill fed taut, funky guitar lines and screeching noise into the band’s politically charged music.
“When I was young, [Jimi] Hendrix was a big obsession, with his flowing, soloing, colourful, expressive style,” Gill said in 2017.
“But there were more groove-orientated things that got me quite excited – a lot of Motown things which are not guitar-driven at all. With Motown, the way the grooves were put together really got under my skin. And people like [funk and soul guitarist] Steve Cropper, who is an amazing, underrated rhythm guitarist.”
While Gang of Four never had a top 40 hit, songs like Natural’s Not in It and At Home He’s a Tourist became cult favourites; their 1979 debut album Entertainment! was named by Rolling Stone in 2003 as one of the 500 greatest ever.
They released 10 albums in all, with a couple of periods of hiatus during their 40-year history – Gill was the only founding member of the band to last throughout. Their most recent album was 2019’s Happy Now, which they toured late last year. “Andy’s final tour in November was the only way he was ever really going to bow out; with a Stratocaster around his neck, screaming with feedback and deafening the front row,” the band’s statement continues.
Partly thanks to Gill’s distinctive guitar playing, Gang of Four became hugely influential.
“Gang of Four knew how to swing – I stole a lot from them,” said REM’s Michael Stipe; Kurt Cobain described Nirvana as “a Gang of Four and Scratch Acid ripoff”; INXS’s Michael Hutchence called them “art meets the devil via James Brown”.
Their funky style was also influential on Red Hot Chili Peppers, with bassist Flea calling them “the first rock band I could truly relate to”.
Gill ended up producing the Chili Peppers’ self-titled debut album, and would also produce records by Killing Joke, Therapy?, the Jesus Lizard, and more.
Gary Numan was among those paying tribute, calling him “a unique talent”. The Futureheads, another band Gill produced, said: “Working with Andy on our early singles and first album set us on our path. A true gent.”